A GANGLAND boss suspected of ordering the hit on Real IRA faction leader Alan Ryan last September is hiding out in Spain.
The man has been missing for the past few weeks and is aware that associates of the terrorist are seeking revenge for their friend's murder.
The suspect has been travelling regularly in the past few years between here and Spain, where he has close contacts among the Irish criminal community on the Costa del Sol.
But gardai think his current trip is to lie low and avoid the dissident republicans, rather than to plan further crime.
He is thought to have planned Ryan's murder along with another gang boss, also from the northside of the city, who has been living more recently in the Cavan-Monaghan area.
Both men are said by gardai to have been involved in tiger kidnappings in the Louth-Meath and north Dublin areas.
The two men are the prime focus of the garda team investigating Ryan's murder at Clongriffin.
The gardai are currently building up a lengthy dossier on the shooting and have been concentrating so far on those who played either minor or peripheral roles in the preparation and planning of the murder.
Officers have not yet sought either of the main suspects for questioning. They are aware that the dissidents have been carrying out their own inquiries into the murder and are hoping to carry out tit-for-tat attacks.
The gangsters are believed to have targeted Ryan because he threatened to kill them when they refused to hand over a slice of their profits from criminal activity.
Ryan had been involved in an ongoing feud with several crime gangs, who were resisting his demands for money from their drug-trafficking operations.
The Real IRA has claimed since his death that Ryan was attempting to drive drug traffickers out of Dublin and end the misery of addicts.
But gardai are satisfied that in fact his real aim was to extort money from the traffickers – mainly for his own personal use.